Posted on 10 Sep 2012
Police cuts hitting the front line - and putting public at greater risk - as YOUGOV poll also reveals a low level of trust in Theresa May or David Cameron to deliver an effective Police Force
Seven in 10 people surveyed by YouGov this week believe the Government’s cuts to police funding are affecting front-line police services, with nearly half believing that the police service should have been protected from cuts, alongside the NHS and overseas aid spending.
More worryingly, 76% of the people who took part in the poll believed falling police numbers will put the public at greater risk.
"Government ministers keep trying to convince the public that the cuts are not affecting the front-line and that, even with significantly reduced numbers, the police can continue to provide an effective service," says Mark Botham, chairman of North Yorkshire Police Federation.
"But, this survey confirms that the majority of the public agree with what the Police Federation has been saying all along. The front-line is being affected; the public understands what we are saying and are rightly concerned. Yet the Government is still intent on denying this is the case.
"We expect to take our share of the necessary public spending cuts, but the additional reductions we are facing are having an impact on our ability to deliver the level of service the public expects. Our members are concerned the cuts are putting the public at risk and now we know that the majority of the public share their concerns."
Unsurprisingly, the poll also revealed a very low level of trust in either Theresa May or David Cameron to deliver an effective Police Service in England & Wales with more than 60% of those surveyed having little or no trust in them. The highest level of trust (at 63%) was for Chief Constables, with Police Crime Commissioners scoring 39%.
North Yorkshire Police Federation is now calling on the Government to act on the survey’s findings.
"This survey and the results of the Victim Support Survey last week show that members of the public are clearly concerned about the effects of the cuts, and share the same concerns as the Police Federation." says Mark Botham, "We believe the Government is in danger of dismantling a police service that is the envy of the world. We would urge ministers to take time to re-evaluate the cuts programme. No-one in policing is saying that we shouldn’t take our share of cuts during the austerity measures. But the cuts in policing are going too far, too fast. However, with Damian Green newly appointed as Police Minister, there is an opportunity for the government to re-consider before it is too late."
Finally, with Nick Buckles appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday 11th September, the survey revealed that 66% of respondents laid the blame for Olympic Security fiasco squarely at the door of G4S
Laurence Janta-Lipinski comments: "These results show that the vast majority of the public believe that cuts are having an impact on frontline police services. Only Conservative voters believe that the police should not have been spared from cuts with a plurality of Lib Dems and a majority of Labour voters believing the police force should have been protected from them."
Overview of Findings Full Survey Attached
•70% of those surveyed believed frontline police services have been affected by cuts to police funding, but this figure increases to 74% for north of England
•76%of those surveyed believed that the cuts in police officer numbers will put the public at greater risk, but this figure increases to 77% for north of England
•50% of those surveyed were not confident that the police would be able to cope if a similar wave of rioting, as seen in August 2011, was to break out again, but this figure inceases to 54% for north of England
•49% of those surveyed believed that the police should have been protected from cuts, even if this meant greater cuts elsewhere, but this figure increases to 52% for north of England
•63% of those surveyed had a no or little trust in the Prime Minister ensuring an effective police service, but this figure increases to 72% for north of England
•62% of those surveyed had a no or little trust in the Home Secretary ensuring an effective police service, but this figure increases to 71% for north of England
•66% of those surveyed blamed G4S for the Olympics security fiasco for the north this figure was 64%
•31% of those surveyed supported outsourcing / privatisation in policing but this fell to 28% for north of England
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,916 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd - 5th September 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all English and Welsh adults (aged 18+).
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